Rotarians Reach Out Across Continents

NEWPORT, VT - The Newport, Boundary, and Sherbrook Rotary Clubs met at the Eastside Restaurant on Monday evening to introduce five South African professionals who were selected to visit and learn about business practices in the United States and Canada. The three Rotary clubs are a part of a district that includes southern Quebec and northern Vermont and New Hampshire.Approximately 60 Rotarians attended the dinner meeting and learned more about each of the five visitors. During the four-week visit, the guests will reside with host families and learn how their professions operate in North America.A geological engineer, lawyer, financial adviser, vice principal of an elementary school and a property developer were selected from 35 applicants for the exchange program and will work with peers in their profession throughout the area.Having membership in the Rotary Club is not necessary to be chosen to participate in this program; only one of the five individuals who are visiting is a Rotarian. Greater emphasis is focused on what the applicants do outside of their profession. Attendee Holly Richardson said community service work like building shelters, working with the homeless and other projects carry a lot of weight in the selection process.Rotary International, first established in Chicago, IL, in 1905, has a mission to “provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and build goodwill and peace in the world.” Currently the club has 1.2 million members worldwide.David Oliver from the Boundary Rotary Club is the point person for the exchange program this year. Oliver said as part of their mission they work with people in other countries to expose them to how we do business, teach and administrate, how our court system works, and the laws that are applied. “This is an exchange program in that, at other times, we help sponsor professionals to visit other countries for the same purpose,” he stated.North Country Union High School student Shannon Smith, who helped create the youth Rotary Club Interact program at the school attended the meeting. The new club, which follows the same mission statement as Rotary International, will be officially inaugurated on May 29. Smith said as a part of their community service commitment, the 36-member club will hold a car wash on May 26 at the Newport City Fire Department to benefit IROC and also plan a bake sale to support the animal shelter before school ends in June.